Halloween is a highly anticipated day for children. Planning costumes, trick-or-treating, and watching spooky movies has become an exciting and time-honored tradition.

For some families, however, the scariest part of Halloween is food allergies. Six of the top eight allergens are often lurking in the treats passed out on Halloween night: milk, soy, wheat, egg, peanuts, and tree nuts.  Perhaps, even scarier, are the not-so-obvious threats.

Treats that may appear harmless based off the ingredient list, might still be made in a plant that produces other items with those allergens, making it possible for cross contamination.  Even coming in contact with these small traces of allergens can be enough to put a child in anaphylactic shock.  This makes it difficult for kids with food allergies to safely share in the Halloween fun.  That’s where the Teal Pumpkin Project comes in to save this spooky holiday.

What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a campaign started by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) to bring awareness to the amount of children that have life-altering and potentially life-threatening food allergies.  It encourages people to hand out alternative treats (non-food items) so children with food allergies or other medical conditions can safely trick-or-treat on Halloween.

By displaying a teal colored pumpkin on your property, you denote that a non-food treat is available, making it a safe stop for families with kids who have dietary restrictions.

How to Participate

It’s easy! Head to your local store and purchase a teal colored pumpkin or gather the family and paint your own. You can also visit the FARE website to download a free printable sign to display outside your home.

The next step is picking an alternative treat.

Alternatives to Candy

Stores have made it easier than ever to pick a great non-food treat. They have so many options that are available right in the Halloween section! Below are a few of our favorite non-food treats, we are sure the kids will love:

  • Stickers
  • Glow Sticks
  • Playdough
  • Pens or Pencils
  • Bracelets or Necklaces
  • Bubbles
  • Halloween-Themed Items (spider rings, vampire teeth, etc.)

Even if no one in your family has a food allergy, it’s still a good idea to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project. Opt to only hand out non-food items, or offer them as an option along with your traditional candy.  We suggest keeping these treat options in separate bowls.

Not only is participating in this project a great way to put parents at ease and keep kids safe, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to show your kids an easy way to include others.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Find an Allergy & Immunology Specialist Near You Call (716) 706-2112

Find an Allergy & Immunology Specialist Near You Call (716) 706-2112